Week 111: Journey to the West
I went down to see my parents in Weymouth for a few days. It’s a convenient enough journey by train, as long as there aren’t any strikes, which there weren’t. The train was briefly delayed at Dorchester while they fixed the track in a tunnel. I wasn’t in a hurry, so I was hoping that it would be at least fifteen minutes, enough to trigger Delay Repay, but it took less than five.
One of the things I like least about travelling by train in this country is the absurd pricing that requires you to commit in advance to a specific train in order to get a reasonable price, so I was happy to discover that my cheapest option was a Super Off Peak Return that can be bought on the day, used on multiple trains, and required no detailed planning or preparation at all.
The thing that I always find most shocking about small towns, as opposed to the metropolis, is just how oppressive the motor traffic is. There’s a lot of it, the speeds are higher so it’s much noisier, and the pedestrian infrastructure is very limited. Instead of pedestrian crossings, you pray and walk across two lanes of traffic next to a roundabout. After a walk along the causeway to Portland, with lorries whooshing past at 60 mph, I felt more stressed than when I left! It’s very different from my usual calm daily walk along the Thames, accompanied only by gulls and the occasional boat.
We’ve made more preparations for our upcoming holiday in Australia. I’m sure it’s possible for holidays to be relaxing, but when you need a spreadsheet to manage the details it feels like more work than actual work.
This country has gone even more mad than it already was. People are holding demonstrations against the idea of the fifteen minute city as if it’s some kind of tyranny, and one Westminster MP even called it an “international socialist concept” that “will cost us our personal freedom”. I already live in a place where I can get most things within fifteen minutes’ walk and it’s much nicer than having to drive everywhere. Full disclosure: I’d also be in favour of international socialism.
I still haven’t tried out ChatGPT or that Bing chat thing. I feel like I’m expected to care, but I just can’t get excited about them.
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